2003 Adopted Resolutions
71st Annual Meeting
Denver

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URGENT NEED FOR CHANGES IN AMERICA'S MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOLS

WHEREAS, in urban school districts, one-third to one-half of all teachers do not have an undergraduate major or minor degree in their primary instructional field; and

WHEREAS, 20 percent of all new teachers leave the field within three years and approximately 50 percent leave urban districts within five years; and

WHEREAS, over six million public school children are in danger of being left behind as we begin to implement the No Child Left Behind Act; and

WHEREAS, already 5 percent of the nation's high schools have been designated as "in need of improvement" prior to the implementation of No Child Left Behind and the first year's reporting of annual yearly progress (AYP); and

WHEREAS, approximately one million of the nation's high school students fail to graduate high school; and

WHEREAS, 3,000 students drop out of middle or high school each day; and

WHEREAS, in 2003, nearly 540,000 students will leave, not graduate, America's school systems; and

WHEREAS, based on 2001 data, on average the ten metro school districts with the lowest graduation rates are able to graduate only 44 percent of their students on time; and

WHEREAS, the nation's high school graduation rate is only 69 percent; and

WHEREAS, less than 75 percent of the nation's eighth graders get a high school diploma in five years and the rates dip below 50 percent in urban schools; and

WHEREAS, 23 percent(over 700,000)of high school seniors have difficulty reading on the eve of their high school graduation and are therefore not prepared to go to college; and

WHEREAS, approximately six million or 25 percent of the nation's 24 million public school students, grades 6 through 12, read below the basic level that affects their achievement and ability to learn in all classes; and

WHEREAS, many middle and high schools are already employing a variety of strategies to successfully educate low-performing students to high standards and but no one strategy is being used to increase student achievement; and

WHEREAS, changes and improvements need to be made in training and hiring high quality teachers, focusing learning time, effective instructional methods and rigorous curriculum, counseling that encourages parental involvement, and creating smaller learning environments so that middle and high schools and the students can be successful,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors believes the time has come for the federal, state and local governments to form a national partnership that transform middle schools and high schools into centers of learning and engagement that prepare students for rewarding and meaningful lives; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress of the United States to pass and fund legislation that establishes an adolescent reading program similar to Reading First, but focused on middle and high school students to ensure that they have the skills to complete high school, attend college, and be a part of America's 21st century workforce; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors encourages federal, state and local governments address the academic and social needs of the six million children at risk of dropping out of high school in order to ensure that they have an opportunity to graduate high school and be prepared for college.